That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Corinthians 12:10 (NIV)
It’s time for another fitness tip. We all want strong abs! We use our core muscles in every movement we do…except lying down to sleep. So keeping those muscles strong helps us to move better all day long.
Back in Jesus’ day, they didn’t have to worry about specific core-strengthening exercises. They were moving from dawn to dusk. Now we work eight-hour days at a desk and sit in traffic to and from. It’s no wonder we have difficulty keeping a tight midsection!
Let’s learn the dead bug exercise that works our abdominal muscles, both the tranverse abdominals (think 6-pack abs!) AND the internal & external obliques (think waistline!).
Consistently doing the dead bug can help our balance & stability. (That’s my favorite bennie!) It will also help control our postural movements both while sitting, standing AND moving. Proper posture is so, so important to help us move correctly!
It’s so important to push your lower back into the floor. Don’t let it arch at all! This will ignite your abdominal muscles & tell them that THEY will be doing the work!
Here’s a step-by-step:
- Allow your shoulders and lower back to fall heavy to the floor.
- Draw your shoulders down away from your ears. To get into the starting position, lift your arms so your elbows are above your shoulders with your fists facing in toward each other.
- Lift your legs so your knees are directly over your hips.
- On an exhale, slowly lower your right arm and left leg until they’re just above the floor.
- On an inhale, bring them back to the starting position.
- Repeat on the opposite side.
- This is 1 rep.
- Repeat 12 times. Every day I best!
Proper breathing is also important. Inhale as you get into starting position. (See #2 & #3 above)
Exhale forcefully as you lower opposite arm & leg. Also as you exhale, focus on expanding sideways and into the floor. Remember, lower back down! Engage all of your stomach muscles
This exercise allows us to strengthen abdominal muscles and all the front side of our core while minimizing the pressure on the low back. The dead bug exercise can teach us how to move our hips and shoulders/arms and legs without moving the spine. We do this by pushing our lower back into the floor to protect our spine.
Here is one of the guest authors from my book, The Afflicted Healer, to give us a real-life example of how to perform a dead bug properly. Mary Hayes is an ACSM certified personal trainer and ACE Orthopedic Exercise Specialist working at Baptist Milestone. Mary contributed the chapter, Making the Day-to Day Better with Functional Training. That’s something we could all use!
When we ask You to make us stronger and more fit for our journey, help us to remember You put exercises and exercise specialist in our path to answer our prayer.
Please give us the determination and perseverance to stick with it until we see/feel the desired results.
Thank you for giving us all bodies that can be molded.
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